Toraja Buntu Ledo
Complex and fun. One of our most exciting early phase project.
Before the era of European colonization in Indonesia, there were Arabian traders voyaging across the archipelago to trade. The Arabs were seeking the prized nutmeg and other spices, in exchange they brought with them a plant native to the Arabian peninsula: coffee.
One of the most prominent trading post at the time was the port of Makassar. Kingdom of Gowa, the ruler of Makassar, found coffee to have medicinal and recreational properties. Henceforth, they invested heavily in coffee plantation around the Toraja highlands. And so the culture of coffee has endured until today in Toraja.
Today most of the coffee in the Toraja area was a result of big bang coffee rejuvenation programs by the government in the early 2000s. However, as with many other regions in Indonesia, unstable low prices and complicated value chain has dampened the enthusiasm for coffee plantings. In the kampong of Buntu Ledo, from 500 farmers in the early 2000s only about 20-ish families have persisted with coffee. This has caused major decline in coffee production and investment in the area.
Buntu Ledo is one kampung with a huge coffee potential. The kampong is situated around 1750-2100 masl and has around 80 hectares of coffee plantation. Yet only a fraction of these plantation are taken care for.
The biggest challenges to coffee development in Toraja has been the declining significance of coffee in everyday Toraja culture, exemplified in the kampong of Buntu Ledo. It’s a complex problem but with one with some interesting solutions.
Alongside the newly established Koperasi Buntu Ledo Sipporanu co-op, we initiate a path towards coffee geographical indication (GI) in Buntu Ledo that perhaps eventually could lead to development in other areas such as culture tourism and thus, reclaim the enthusiasm for coffee planting.